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Top 5 North East stargazing stays

Monday 20th June, 2022 by hostandstay

The night sky can provide plenty of interesting and breathtaking sights if you know where to look.

Generally, if you stay away from areas with a lot of light pollution, from buildings, cars or street lamps, you’re likely to get a good view of the stars on an evening. There are, however, a number of places across the North East that have been specifically recognised as Dark Sky Discovery Sites ‘places to stargaze’, which are:

  • Away from any local light pollution
  • Provide good sightlines of the sky
  • Have good public access, including firm ground for wheelchairs, and are generally freely accessible at all times.

 

The below sites are easy to find and access from our holiday properties, with many venues offering star maps to help you find constellations.

Kielder Observatory

Describing itself as “one of the most remarkable places in the whole of the UK”, Kielder Observatory is an astronomical treasure. Located in the heart of Northumberland, under some of the darkest skies in the world, Kielder Observatory really is one of the most perfect places to stargaze.

The on-site experts run around 700 public events a year, taking place each night at 8pm for around three hours. Each event includes a tour of the observatory, and a main presentation covering topics such as the aurora and the different constellations. While the presentation takes around 40 minutes, the majority of your time will be spent in complete darkness, using the fantastic array of on-site telescopes set up to observe the cosmos.

There are also special events regularly held specifically for children, teaching them everything they need to know about the milky way and other constellations!

Prices start from £15 for adults depending on the event, and you’ll need to book in advance.

Derwent Reservoir

Some of the darkest Skies in England are found in the North Pennines. The area has vast expanses of remote countryside away from buildings and construction and the lack of light pollution makes the views of the night sky second to none. The Pennines are home to Derwent Reservoir, the second largest reservoir in the region, with Kielder coming in first, and allows those further down the North East to experience similar views.

Inside the reservoir site itself is Pow Hill Country Park and Millshield, where the car park and picnic area at both sites are designated Dark Sky Sites. Millshield is well away from the main road and is protected from the wind by surrounding trees, while Pow Hill provides access to a flat, good-quality surface and an easy access trail on the shore of the reservoir.

There’s also a car park at the visitor centre, which provides access and a safe environment for pushchair and wheelchair users, giving them an uninterrupted view of the northern sky from there.

Bowlees Visitor Centre

Bowlees Visitor Centre, located close to the beautiful market town of Barnard Castle, has been recognised for the quality of its dark night skies and therefore is listed as a Dark Sky Discovery Site.

The centre offers a range of events suitable for the whole family, particularly during the North Pennines Stargazing Festival , which is held during October half-term.

From as little as 50p, you can join in the family moon trail and explore the woods around the centre, taking you on an exciting journey to the moon.

 

Twice Brewed Inn, Hexham

Located within the protected Dark Sky Park, the Twice Brewed Inn near Hexham is home to some of the most impressive skies. With their very own Stargazing Team, you’ll be in for an informative presentation before heading outside for a laser-guided tour of the constellations above you.

The venue is located perfectly, with minimal light pollution for a clear view of the Milky Way arching across the sky, and you’ll see thousands more stars than you’d see in polluted towns and cities. The Twice Brewed Inn has timed its events specifically with your view in mind, making sure they plan around the moon, so it won’t be too bright and spoil your view.

You’ll need to book in advance to avoid disappointment on the day. Prices start from £30 for adults and £19 for children.

Hamsterley Forest

With stargazing events often organised by the Forestry Commission with the support of local astronomers, Hamsterley Forest in Durham is a great place to go looking for stars, while not being too far from civilisation!

With 24-hour facilities and an accessible car park, you can go stargazing yourself at any point free of charge, but if you do want the full experience and to learn more about the skies above you, join resident experts at their regular events to talk you through all of the different constellations and provide you with binoculars to see them up close.

 

If you fancy seeing stars, stay locally with our wide selection of amazing holiday homes. Check them out on our website

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